H.C. Starck, one of the leading producers of customer-specific powders and components made of technology metals and technical ceramics, has acquired a minority stake in one of Sweden’s most innovative start-ups, Metasphere Technology. The company has developed an innovative, proprietary technology for the production of spherical metal powders, a material in high demand in growth industries such as additive manufacturing.
H.C. Starck and Metasphere Technology plan to build a new production line for spherical metal powders in Lulea (Sweden). The agreement secures H.C. Starck exclusive sales rights of the materials produced. H.C. Starck will also provide customer application technology support. The continued expansion of production capacity is planned as the market develops. Both partners have agreed not to disclose further details of the agreement.
H.C. Starck already produces special atomized metal powders for the additive manufacturing market and wants to expand its business activities there long-term. “With our many years of experience in the processing of technology metals and technical ceramics, we see great growth potential for our company in additive manufacturing,” says Andreas Meier, CEO of the H.C. Starck Group. “Metasphere Technology is known in the market for its proven capacity to innovate and therefore is the right technology partner for us. Thanks to our cooperation, our two companies will not only grow in the additive manufacturing market but will even provide the industry itself with impetus for growth.”
“We identified H.C. Starck as an ideal partner at an early stage. So we are pleased that we were able to win H.C. Starck as a new shareholder,” said Metasphere Technology CEO Jan Wicén. “The company has wide-ranging material expertise and long experience in the field of developing novel alloys that we can now produce in spherical shape using our unique process. The process can restructure all electrical conducting materials on a nano level and spheriodise materials to perfect spheres in a wide range of sizes. Our "meta-stable" compositions will pave the way for high precision alloys and materials in spherical form for breakthroughs in many industrial areas. With H.C. Starck on board we have got a solid validation in the international market as well as secured our long-term supply of powder raw materials for our production.”
With the unique production technology developed by Metasphere Technology, a wide variety of metals and other electrically conductive materials can be processed into spherical powders. By restructuring of the material on a nano level, they can be precisely adjusted to customer-specific requirements relating to material characteristics like particle size and distribution. The powders are characterized by the absolutely perfect spherical shape of their particles and their homogenous structure through the entire powder. This gives them unique physical-mechanical characteristics that could not or only scarcely be achieved with previously known technologies. “Among other things, spherical powders have extremely high flowability, which is a key precondition for the production of high-quality components using additive manufacturing,” Meier said. “Since a multitude of materials can be processed with Metasphere’s new technology, we will be able to offer our additive-manufacturing customers a much-expanded product portfolio with new and highly innovative powders beyond the materials processed to this point.”
Additive Manufacturing is one of the highest-growth sectors because it gives engineers new, cost-effective design options for highly stressed components with complex forms. While the technology has initially been used mostly for prototype development, it is increasingly used in series production today.